Deputy Commerce Secretary visits Georgia Tech

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U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews visited the Georgia Institute of Technology recently to get a first-hand look at its innovation ecosystem and how that helps drive economic development.

Andrews spent his time on June 8 at the Enterprise Innovation Institute — Tech’s chief economic development and business outreach arm. He received an overview of how research and the development of new technologies at the Institute help drive economic development through the creation of new companies, which leads to new jobs.

“The big part is to understand the intersection between the public sector, the private sector, universities and educational institutions and seeing various ways in which Georgia Tech is playing various roles in catalyzing economic development,” Andrews said. “It’s really impressive.”

While on campus, he met with Stephen Cross, Tech’s executive vice president for research, who explained how the Institute’s focus on transformative research, public-private partnerships, and leveraging state resources drives innovation.

Andrews also toured the Institute’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), the internationally recognized technology startup incubator that’s open to entrepreneurs statewide.

He met with entrepreneurs of two ATDC companies — Clean Hands Safe Hands and Lumense. Clean Hands Safe Hands, founded by Chris Hermann, a 2012 bioengineering alumnus, is a wireless hand hygiene monitoring system for hospitals. Lumense, a supplier of real-time, on-site chemical and biological sensors across a number of industries and applications, is based on technology exclusively licensed from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and more than $20 million in funded research conducted at Tech.

Andrews also received an update on the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI). An affiliate of Georgia Tech, GCMI is charged with accelerating the development and commercialization of next-generation medical devices and technology.

“You realize what a great entrepreneurial, innovative ecosystem that’s being built here through Georgia Tech, but really benefiting not only the whole community of Atlanta, but frankly the whole state of Georgia,” Andrews said. “These are the type of catalytic economic development activities that we seek to work with through a number of our programs at the Department of Commerce.”

Andrews visit follows announcements from the Commerce Department earlier this year that Tech was awarded two grants.

In one, announced May 22, the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration awarded Tech a $460,707 grant to study the feasibility of expanding Technology Enterprise Park on Atlanta’s west side into a health and bioscience hub.

The other, announced March 30, was a $500,000 i6 Challenge grant to support a sweeping innovation and entrepreneurship initiative in Athens, Augusta and downtown Atlanta.


By Péralte C. Paul



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